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News » Kasay gets it right good

Kasay gets it right good

Kasay gets it right good
NEW ORLEANS -- John Kasay had felt bad all week.

On Sunday, there was a chance to feel good again.

The Carolina Panthers kicker grabbed it, drilling a 42-yard field goal with one second left in the game to edge New Orleans, 33-31, and set the Panthers up beautifully for the playoffs.

"You dubbed us the 'Cardiac Cats' a few years ago, right?" Kasay said afterward in a jubilant Carolina locker room. "I think you can pull out the hats and T-shirts and get ready for the ride."

The locker-room mood had been far more somber only a week before, when Kasay missed a 50-yarder at the end of regulation in Giants Stadium that would have won the game.

Instead, the Giants won in overtime, 34-28, clinching the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed by doing so.

Kasay, 39, is too well-respected in the locker room for teammates to have grumbled about that miss. And he had excuses if he had wanted to use them - the swirling wind, the bitter cold.

He chose not to. Instead, he studied the ripple effect of the errant kick, then hoped to reverse it.

Said Kasay: "The thing that was so hard about last week - the thing that bothered me the most - was that if we win that Football game, it gives [teammates] an opportunity where this [New Orleans] game really doesn't have any meaning. Then they get a week off after that. Guys can get healthy.

"That was the thing that was the most painful. It wasn't missing the kick. It was the consequences."

So again on Sunday, it came down to Kasay.

He had made his first three field goals (from 45, 26 and 34) but then had missed a 41-yarder, his first miss under 50 yards all season.

That third-quarter attempt would have made it 33-10.

But Kasay rushed at the ball too quickly and missed left.

"I was just a little fast," Kasay said. "I got there, but I didn't get a good look on the ball. It started off straight and then it just faded away. Those are the ones that just gall you."

It became even more galling when New Orleans scored three straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers were on the verge of a monumental collapse.

Carolina's final drive ended with Kasay about to kick a 37-yarder. Then Jordan Gross false-started. That made it a 42-yarder.

Kasay didn't waver.

"Those things happen," he said. "It's just part of the chaos of what I do."

On the sideline, Panther coach John Fox was nervous. A 42-yarder in a domed stadium is a lot easier than a 50-yarder in the freezing cold. But still.

"I don't take anything for granted," Fox said. "We had a late field goal [miss] a week ago. He had a pretty big field goal [miss] earlier in this game.

"When you're in this long enough, you don't take anything for granted."

Jason Kyle snapped the ball. Jason Baker put it down.

And Kasay knocked it through, slinging a blanket of silence over the crowd at the Louisiana Superdome.

Carolina is now the NFC's No.2 seed, guaranteed to be in the second round of the NFL playoffs on Jan. 10 and 11.

Carolina will host either Minnesota, Atlanta or Arizona on Jan. 10 or 11 in that second-round game.

"Consequences," Kasay said again. "Two weeks to recover. A home playoff game. A lot of things ripple out from that kick."

Yes, they do.

Kasay had played "Truth or Consequences" for the second week in a row.

And this time, Kasay won.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 29, 2008

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